The Detroit Free Press is Gaslighting Us

In the July 11 Free Press, there was an article by Todd Spangler called:


I don’t have time to fisk the whole article, so let’s start with the biggest, most obvious, completely insulting point that sets up the entire false premise; the article’s title.

Criticism of Israel does NOT fuel charges of “hate.” That dodge has been used by Israel haters for years. Defenders of the British Labour Party have been throwing it around regularly. They are liars. It is demonization of Jews and Israel that gets Jews angry. There is a difference between honest criticism and dishonest demonization, and by refusing to acknowledge that difference, Spangler’s article arrives DOA. His piece is mostly an attempt to be “even-handed” between actual episodes of anti-Semitism and wobbly attempts at defending anti Semites as not really anti-Semitic.

He’s using the same strategy adopted by Linda Sarsour and the British Labour Party, both of whom obviously have a problem with Jews and Israel: First they admit that anti-Semitism is a serious problem. Then they insist that they’re not anti-Semitic, they’re fighting anti-Semitism, and anyone who insists otherwise is “weaponizing” anti-Semitism. In fact, the reality is the opposite. It is the Israel haters who are weaponizing anti-Semitism, and they are fueling "the political charges of hate."

Here is an example from the article:

In Michigan and across the U.S. — and around the world — antisemitism is on the rise.

White supremacists post flyers in Lansing saying, “Money does not rule you," trafficking in an age-old stereotype about Jews and financial control. Protesters march in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” Jewish tombstones in Pennsylvania and in Missouri, are vandalized.

A gunman kills 11 people he targeted in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks allegations of antisemitic acts in the U.S., says there were nearly 1,900 such incidents in 2018, with the number of physical attacks and harassment rising from 1,034 in 2017 to 1,105 last year. In Michigan, the number of white supremacist and antisemitic incidents reported rose from 35 in 2017 to 51 last year.

But there is also a separate fight over antisemitism, one that is largely political. It equates rhetoric that some deem as insensitive with antisemitism and questions, along partisan lines, whether criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians under its control is fair. And it sees Republicans smearing Democrats with claims of antisemitism, even in cases where there is little or no evidence to back it up.

See how that works? “Little or no evidence to back it up,” he says. So either he hasn’t been paying attention to Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar or he’s whitewashing their statements and associations. Also, the link in the third paragraph doesn’t really make the point that Spangler wants us to think it does.

Sadly, there are the Jewish enablers. One of them is J-Street (a group that is as pro-Israel as Tlaib). Another one is the ADL.

"It’s absolutely being weaponized,” Carolyn Normandin, regional director for the Detroit/Michigan Office of the Anti-Defamation League, said of political claims of antisemitism, many — but not all of which — are specious."

“People are wrapping themselves in the state of Israel’s flag. … But they are using it for political gain.”

Yep, the ADL is working against Jewish interests again. They’ll call out antisemites on the Left only if the expressed hatred is too egregious to be ignored. J-Street and the ADL are joined by Andy Levin. Remember him? He’s the Michigan representative who thought it would be a good idea to invite members of Bend the Arc to moderate a discussion on anti-Semitism with “liberal members who sympathize with Palestinians.” He also – surprise – defends Rashida Tlaib. According to Levin, “She’s not antisemitic.” It’s only the white supremacists and Donald Trump who exhibit that mental disorder.

According to Spangler, comments for Tlaib’s and Omar’s are only “considered antisemitic” by some. Others disagree. Their comments have been misinterpreted. As a J-Street representative tells us:

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated and it's nuanced," said Logan Bayroff, communications director for J Street, a pro-Israel group which promotes a two-state solution. "People owe it to themselves to look at the current reality and the history to decide what they want to say about it. But it's discouraging if people can't talk openly and fear they're going to be smeared with the label of anti-Israel or antisemite as soon as they open their mouth."

In other words, paraphrasing Chico Marx, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own ears?”

According to this article, there are no hard facts when it comes to anti-Semitism from the Left. Regarding Tlaib’s recent Holocaust comments:

Then this spring, Tlaib was attacked for comments she made on a podcast when she was asked about humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the West Bank, where her grandmother lives. She mentioned that a recent Holocaust remembrance had given her a "kind of calming feeling" because of the role her ancestors played in providing a "safe haven" for Jews — whether they did so willingly or not. While many, like those in the ADL, felt strongly that the comments were inaccurate in portraying Palestinians as somehow accepting of Israel.

"Felt strongly?" Seriously? If only there was some kind of historical record we could refer to in order to find the truth. If only someone had reported what really happened between the Jews and Tlaib's grandmother and great grandparents. Then Spangler would not have had to depend on conjecture.

In short, we’re supposed to believe the wishy-washy - I mean - nuanced assertion (also promoted by the British Labour Party and Linda Sarsour) that by focusing on their imaginary antisemitism, the real antisemites are getting away.

I believe this is referred to as "Gaslighting" in social media parlance. And the Free Press has joined in that gaslighting.